Bollinger and Coatsworth Resignation sign now

We, the undersigned, demand the resignations of President Lee Bollinger and Dean John Coatsworth. We are appalled that the University invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier who has threatened to wipe Israel off the map, to speak on campus.

By selectively offering free speech to Ahmadinejad while discriminately denying it to others, Columbia has discredited its own academic integrity. While Ahmadinejad enjoyed the opportunity to address the Columbia community, those denied a similar opportunity include the ROTC, which is not allowed on campus; other speakers, who were attacked after not receiving adequate protection; and students, who felt intimidated by professors.

By offering Ahmadinejad a forum at one of the most prestigious universities in the country, President Bollinger and Dean Coatsworth have conferred a degree of legitimacy upon the worlds most dangerous lunatic at a particularly incendiary moment in history. Attempts to engage Ahmadinejad in honest debate recall British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's fatal efforts to use discussion in order to obtain "peace in our time." Despite what Dean Coatsworth may believe, Hitler did not succeed in murdering six million innocent people because no one asked him tough questions. Hitler, like Ahmadinejad, became so dangerous because the worlds leaders were too slow to recognize that some enemies need never be debated. We expect great things from our leaders and are left disappointed as we see history repeating itself.

We demand new leadership that is consistent in its support of free speech while at the same time, sensible enough to refrain from legitimizing those who seek and are actively pursuing our destruction.

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Tracey SpencerBy:
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the Trustees of Columbia University:

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